Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Time! ^^

Merry Christmas everyone! May this Christmas bring added bonus to your relationship with Christ =) It certainly had to mine.

Regretfully I couldn't return to KL to meet friends and family there (sorry dearest loved ones)... 'Couldn't or wouldn't? That is the question'
Well, deciding to cut down my 14 days of true holiday with my parents (after all the activities in Hall) in exchange for time spent with you all shouldn't be too hard to do as I really do miss you, but at the early stage of leaving an empty nest (again :p) for my parents, I would really rather spend all 14 days (even more if permitted) tagging along with them and not go anywhere else. I'm sure you would understand.
But believe me, I'm missing some of you too much to keep away for much longer, so I pray we'll meet soon =)

I spent Christmas travelling with my parents in the South of the country, visiting all the village churches to celebrate Christmas with them. That would mean having Holy communion everyday for 5 consecutive days! haha.. The weather was, as usual these days, often raining, but sunny otherwise. Oh the stars in the villages! I could see the Milky Way ^^. The starry-ness in the villages will not stay the same for long, as all of them have electricity supply now, either from a town nearby, or from a solar station. But for now, the nights remains free of artificial light when it is sleeping time, and the stars can still have thier stage. =)

NUS Semester 1 results was released on the 22nd of Dec this year...a sad day for me.
I'm ashamed, but I want to let it be known here so that pretense will not be an option for me (pretending that all is well and carrying on with no improvement), and more importantly that I may have your prayers:
I failed a Math which is a compulsory module (compulsory for my majoring in Physics). It's implications are many, survivable but many. Do pray for me, pray that I will be deligent in learning my lessons. =)

My parents are the greatest channels of blessings the LORD placed in my life! The blessings come in the form of advice, support, correction, and comfort. They do the most unexpected, and you are reminded that they do so because that is what the LORD does for you.

I'm back in Singapore now, arrived 3 hours ago from writing this sentence ^^.

Christmas presents from my parents: New shoes for floorball (love it) Blanket (love it! ^^) and a brand new guitar! (love it love it!)

I get presents not because it is Christmas, but because Chrsitmas seem like a good excuse for (in reverse order) the stuff thay want to get me, the stuff they want to give me, and the stuff I want to get! haha

Oh! oh! you should see my old shoes they both turn chrocodile on me on the same day and for all ball practices after that I amuse everyone by showing them the panda eyes on my socks peeping out from my shoes...Bye bye shoes! :p

Thanks for stopping by, next time perhaps I'll explain more of what Hall is about =)

Happy New Year!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bitter Sweet Homecoming and a brief filler

Dear loved ones,

Sorry I have abandoned my 'broadcast chanel' for so long. If I were to write deligently, I would have wrote for you about at least 3 things, no 4.

1. How Malaysian Student League (MSL) and the orientation program (UFO) rocks, about my group Lou-Po-Beng! and the crazy stuff we do together.

2. How the people of King Edward VII Hall (KE 7) rocks! and how my seniors here made us feel right at home, and share everything with us including thier hard work on the beautiful float. Rag day was memorable! Spending the night at the field, sharring the joy when we won, sharring the tears when it's over. Thank you for sharring it with us. :)

3. How the Malaysian freshmen of KE 7 pulled off Malaysia Night 2009. We almost gave our seniors a heart-attack haha.

4. How life in SG has been, how the elevators are faster, the cars stopped for you to cross and the people say 'zai!' instead of 'geng!' or 'cun!' Haha but it's not preferable, it's just different, like how you would love both chocolate and vannila ice-cream.

I know it's not very satisfying giving you briefs like this, but at least now my facebook pics and tags would make more sense :)


Had my recess break this week. Going home was bitter sweet cos my dog Shawny died last week. My dad misses him most, it was the his loyal follower. The news was a shock to me. We forget and still call his name sometimes.

But going home is always good, parents are the happiest when children go home. The durian was a bonus ^^

Once we leave home, it will never be the same again...but it need not be the same to remain a home. Home is wherever your love ones is...just remember to send your love home ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tales of a Durian Smuggler

Ever tried transporting the infamous 'king of fruits' across borders through public transport? I just did.

My home is 7 hours coach ride, half an hour train ride, and 15 mins bus ride (with the agonising traffic jam included) away from school. My hyprocytic empathy goes to all who crossed paths with me.

It all started with the durian feast at home...mmMmmMm. I don't care what non-fans may say, but for me durian is luxury food, plus it has a tag that says 'home' on it. When it was time to leave, my mom thought how nice it would be to bring a piece of home to my sister who is also in SG, so she packed it tupperwares and a wrapped thme up in plastic bags, and I put them in my zip-up bag.

If only home could smell less...strong.

The coach ride wasn't that bad...i think. I only had to spray fragrantless deoderant whenever we had a toilet pit stop and no one else is in the coach to discover who the culprit was. The deoderant was more an act to sooth my conscience than of any practical use. No one complained as far as I can tell, not even the nice Cantonese speaking Indian lady seating beside me, so maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. But the bunch of young people did stayed off the coach during the pit stop until it was just about to leave...hmmm. Well thanks to the vidoes, no one seemed to notice anything.

And so things was okie...until I arrive in Singapore. Amazingly no one at the customes made a fuss. Then came the first bus ride. That was easy, just stuff the bag under your seat, sit still and will the smell not to come out. Yah right, like that would work.

Hey who knows, maybe no one would even notice. Oh but the auntie who sat next to me shifted herself to the seat across the aisle. Then she look at me and smile a kind, heartfelt smile. O..kie. No, I don't know what to think either.

Four bus stops later, I was at the MRT station. Great it's open air I can safely inspect my bag without drawing the entire city's attention to myself. By now the entire contents of my bag smells of stale fruit.

Great. More deoderent. Hope for the best.

Never in my life had I dreaded the smell of durian so much, nor was I ever so grateful for every wraft of occasional perfume from an MRT passenger. You know, the smell of durian must either be very strong or non-existant to be pleasant; anything in between is just...pungent.

When i sat down and did that stuff-the-bag-under-with-all-your-wishful-hopes trick again, I caught the uncle on the opposite row looking at me. It wasn't an annoyed look, wasn't an angry look, not even know...look. It was just a long look.

A wraft of the smell, then train intercomm announces, 'If you see any suspicious person...or article...'

There were many times when out of habit I would whisper, 'Lord, please let the smell not come out.'

I could almost hear Him say, 'But I designed it to smell.'

The criminal is now in her room, having dinner, waiting for her laundry to smell good again.

She sincerely apologises to the half of SG who is probably cursing her right now. She would NEVER EVER recommend it to anyone much less herself to try it again, but if anyone were to join her in her shameless stunt for the same purpose, let me tell you that the rewards will be sweet. ^^ Imagine her sister's delight when she presents her with a piece from home!

Just one still takes a bus ride to get to my sis's.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The 15th-Mile Chapel

Mist in a valley, fresh and green
Chirps and twits how sweet they sing
Smooth as cream is the cool, damp air
Twinkle twinkle goes Nature's funfair

Chicken, chicks and butterflies
Baby blues of clear blue skies
Shiny as black coal is the household pet
Woe it has white toes, still hunter of rats

Cool be the floor, warm is the spread
Coziness is tea and of needs taken cared
Merry is news of loved ones, and from
Even merrier the hymns of sunshine after storm

Words we speak, off the tongue they roll
Language of companionship, language of the soul
Remember them, remember, less come another day,
I forget how they are said, then dismay, dismay.

Final Days at Home

I'm leaving home for Singapore next Monday. Wish I could bring home with me.
Funny how when preparing to go to KL, I can't wait to see the world; now I wish I could stay in my shell. :)

I'm excited though, to be moving from 7 hours to just 20 minutes away from my sister hehehehehe...

For Malaysians who are moving to Singapore, I was just told that it's okie to bring your rice cooker, iron, charger ect from home, the power supply shouldn't be posing any problems for you.

I'm still packing, packing my luggages as well as pieces of my heart (so melodramatic haha). I am more attached to home then I think I am.

My parents have been sighing a lot lately...I'm the last to leave home and they are feeling the empty nest syndrome. ;) Good thing my 2nd sister is coming home soon.

My brother thinks of coming home to see me off...very sweet of him, I do miss him. I would have gladly go meet him in KL if I could drive there...then no need to worry about packing as if I'm bringing the whole house, and can go visit my friends and family in Christ in KL...only downside is spending a few days less at home...and laundry to do as soon as I arrie in Singapore...which is why I shall wait for him to come despite his busy schedule. Haha

You know Ko if you are reading my blog, too bad you have a spoiled kid for a sister...that would be partly your fault for spoiling me ^^

The Decision to NUS

Just want to share with you a little something aquired during this recent struggle in decision making.

The night before USM's registeration day, I pleaded with the Lord for peace, assurance and sign that He is with me in the decision to let USM go. Sometimes answers don't come to fit exactly the question we asked, but it comes with the lesson of what we should be asking.
I pleaded like Jacob, ' Lord I won't stop until I have your blessing.'

I was studying the book A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado, lent to me by my sister, and They Found The Secret by V. Raymond Edman. My lesson to learn was this: Selfishness vs Christ-ishness.

Luke 18 and 19 has many exmples we can learn from in this lesson. Do I value Christ more then my desires? Is He in the centre of my life or in the sidelines, e.g. backup plan?

Zachaeus was aching to know this Christ Jesus person. When he, a despised sinner, was shown mercy, he readily gave up his wealth, because his worth now is in Christ. And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of [faith].' Unlike him, the rich ruler, when told to ' sell everything...and follow me,' became sad. He loved his wealth more than Christ.

My dad was saying the previous day over the breakfast table, only when we are willing to let go of everything in exchange for Christ can we be fit to serve, because if we still keep something, we will want to add more to it. Give up everything, and we will have nothing to add to for ourselves, and nothing to obstruct our efficiency in Christ.

"Sell everything...and follow Me...and you will have treasure in heaven"

I have a bulk of wealth was selfish ambition.
It bacame a wall that I built, making it hard to hear from God. See Lord Jesus Christ is always knocking, always listening, always inviting; if we can't hear Him, it's because we built a wall.

I came to see that selfishness was the sorce of many of my problems while in KL. Seeking to get praised, seeking to fit in, seeking to stand out. Always me me me and not Him.
No wonder the wall felt Suffocatingly thick.

"The LORD is my good shepherd, I shall not want."

I shall not want. If I don't come to understand this, I am in danger of holding the wrong rope in high seas. So I see that is what a struggle is about, letting go of the sinking raft before grapping a hold of Christ's lifeline.

Only when I let go did the promise came...oh sweet promises of God!

"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart" -Psalms 37:4

The desires of my heart! God wants to give me the desires of my heart!
Imagine being told you will given that i-phone you wanted, or a new ride good enough to turn all the ladies heads!

Wait, isn't desires exactly what we are against right now?
Ah~but here is the difference: This desire arises from the desire to serve Him (well urm, all the best trying to fit i-phones and Bumblebee rides into a plausible God-serving plan) Plus, if He took them away later on you won't sulk (which I learn during the scholarship struggle :) ), because they are not the point, He is. "Delight yourself in the LORD..." Christ-ishness is the secret key to unlocking this promise.
Ultimately my desire is to be given a role in fulfilling Christ's grand masterplan, I don't want to be left out :)

A friend asked me how I made the decision to go to NUS. Well I didn't tell my friend how many times I doubt that decision, I just tell him God led me to discover how the programme srtucture in NUS fits what I wanted, what He put in my mind since pre-u days. I believe He is giving me the desire of my heart.

I could be wrong, but the heck with it, cos when the time comes, there will be new struggles, and with it comes new blessings, new promises, new mercies. Praise be to God!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No scholarship for me

So I went for the interview on 16th June 2009...very nice people, they let me do all the talking :p...and I was told that the results of the interview will be out by the end of June.

I didn't hear anything from them yet this morning, so I decided to email them. The reply came soon after...
'We are sorry to inform you that you are unsuccessful in your Teaching Award application.'
It was almost as if my short of patience resulted in the failure.

It didn't come as a blow...the benefit of having to wait so long is that you have plenty of time to consider all the possibilities and how you would react to each. The flip side though, is that options closes as time pass, so that by the time the waiting is over, and the outcome is unfavourable, you are lost at what to do.
Let me explain.

After the Study-in-Canada is a closed case, I was left with two options (notice my use of pass tense): USM in Penang, and NUS in Singapore. I know I said NUS was God sent, and yes it is God sent in that matter as a means of weaning me off Canada, but in any case I could still be wrong.

So then here were my options:
A. USM-3 years Honours course, a less pretigious school but recently granted APEX status by the government, and the fees is RM240 per year, after incentives, no mistake, RM 240.

B. NUS-4 years Honours course (provided with God's help I survive well), high international rankings, and the fees is about RM 20,000 per year, after taking the Singapore Government's Tuition Grant, not to mention living expenses exculded.

This is when I wish I were a better disciple, cos I don't know what's the right choice to make.

I applied for the scholarship, went for the interview, and the wait started. Meanwhile, last Saturday, the day for USM freshmen to register, arrived. I prayed and prayed, and felt at peace to let it pass. Goodbye USM, I'm headed for NUS!
I closed the door to USM.

And then came the bad news.
It didn't come as a blow, but it came as a sting...hurts a little at first, then get's worse.

Now I have to run to God for balm. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shortlisted for scholarship!

I applied for a teaching scholarship from Singapore’s Ministry of Education. An email arrived today to say that I have been shortlisted for interview next Tuesday! Hurray! Thank you, Lord! ^^

I had the opportunity to talk to many educators and educators-to-be, who shared their aspirations and spread their ‘educator’s propaganda’ to me. Jee I have never really dreamed of becoming a teacher, honestly didn’t think it would be much of an adventure. But with so many of such encounters, I can’t help but wonder if they were cues from Upstairs. :p

Well, all I know is that I prayed for $$ (jing-jing), hehe… and this scholarship seem like a likely answer.
Trust and obey, right? God put the adventure in me, surely He would provide the outlet too. ;)

Happy Endings

I was watching the last episode of the comedy series The Nanny on Hallmark last night, and thought, too bad such a good show is coming to an end...*lump in the troat*
I guess we get that too often huh? Well at least I do. I hate endings; as much as I try to be optimistic, sometimes I'd rather be sentimental.

I figure endings are sad because it marks that something good is‘no more’, we want good times to continue forever. But sometimes continuing may give the opposite effect, e.g. turning a good story stale, or something bad comes and ruins it all. So, optimist (like me) will say, endings are good; they will be happy endings if we see them not as an end, but a beginning of something that is as good, or even better: The end of an acting role is the beginning of fresh opportunities, and the end of a decade (…for those who hate growing old…) is the beginning of another, along with its shares of sorrow and laughter.

And then there are those endings to which no amount of optimism can cure…can there be happy endings to those?
Those will become either the worst, or the best endings of all, and it all depends on whether we know the Master of All Endings And Happy Endings. Now that is something to hope for.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Learning to say 'NO'

Today I said the hardest 'no' I've ever said in 20 years--I've declined the offers of admission from University of Waterloo (UW), Canada.

It wasn't easy. Many tears of struggle came with this. But I've learned to appreciate such tears, because each tear means a blow to the nail that nails the old self to the cross, and with each tear shed I emerge a more mature, more joyful, more obedient disciple.

UW's offers of admission expires by 28th May 2009. I totally forgot (or rather successfully avoided thinking) about it until late last night. Happily for me it was still 28th in Canada until noon today local time. I could just give no response to UW at all, but that would be a lack of professional courtesy, and it also means burning the bridges.

I cried, because declining UW's offers felt like betraying a friend. They offered me everything I wanted (short of a scholarship! Haha..but thank God for that because otherwise I would already be headed there), and yet I'm saying 'no'. I even wrote in the admissions form that 'UW is my first choice!' It is true. UW was the choice of my heart.
But I knew in my head that UW was not the logical choice for 3 reasons: distance, finance, and the shear comparison of UW to National University of Singapore (NUS), to which I have also be offered admission. (I know...what have I to complain about, right?) NUS is closer to home, next door to my sister, has more flexible interdisciplinary programs which I prefer, offers better financial aid, and even has higher QS rankings! To any other, these and others would be indications of the Lord's blessings. But I couldn't help but think, 'Hey, the Lord could really be opening doors to UW, just that I missed the signs by rationalising!'
But no, NUS is God sent. UW wasn't even an option! The only trouble left was to convince my heart the same..that is where tears come in.

So I did what the Lord gave us instructions to do when in doubt: ask. In times like this I always like to listen to words spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself, so I flipped to the Gospels, and landed in Matthew 7. Ask, seek, and knock. Our Father gives good gifts! Then at an earlier passage: do not worry, 'does the Father not know? Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Then to an even earlier passage: treasures in heaven. 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'

By then the message was clear. i called UW the university of my heart. What it really represents was the treasure of my heart: the prestige of studying (literally) overseas in a western school. It was not the lost of what UW is and NUS is not that I mourned for, because that I could live with, but the lost of servitude to my pride.

The Bible said:
"No one can serve two masters...he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and [Pride]."
Matthew 6:24

Saying 'no' to UW wasn't saying 'no' to what is good, nor was it rejecting (betraying) UW that I have sincerely grown so fond of. Instead it was saying yes to trusting the Lord's guidance, it was choosing God as Master over Self and Pride, and it-felt-like-victory.

The Bible also said:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, how great is that darkness!"
Matthew 6:22-23

I asked to understand His purpose behind this, something that doubles as a confirmation that UW is not for me, and I got it! You see, He meant this to be a lesson to me. So now that my heart is won, my 'eyes are good', and my 'body full of light', I am filled with joy!

I still hope perhaps someday to go to UW, since I succeeded in not burning the bridges by preserving my reputation for good professional courtesy...ehem. And plus! NUS has exchange programs and summer programs to UW, much to my delight. So yeah, perhaps someday I will go, but only if the Lord thinks me fit for the treat. ;)